The high thread count, fancy toiletries and ideal view are way less important than a luxury hotel's breakfast.
We’re willing to travel for an especially good morning feed.
In our fantasy, there are excellent buffet options, with all the pastries, and none of the mini cereal packets, grey bacon and claggy scrambled eggs. There should be a selection of local produce, an extensive full Scottish and a few interesting a la carte dishes.
The surroundings matter too. We need to be comfortable, because we plan to settle in until the cusp of check out time.
THE GLENEAGLES HOTEL
When it comes to hotel breakfasts, nothing compares to The Strathearn restaurant at this five-star Perthshire hotel. Expect a cornucopia of pastries, a side of salmon, cheeses, pancakes, omelette, shakshuka - you’ll think you’re still dreaming. Park on one of their blue velvet banquettes and make their buffet a five-course affair. This feast is intense.
“For a full-house breakfast, we would have six breakfast chefs in the kitchen, a senior chef on the pass, and three assisting, so 10 chefs in total each morning,” says a hotel spokesperson. “While we’re not aware if any guests stay with us primarily for our breakfast, the most important meal of the day is a highlight for many. The sheer volume we have on offer tends to impress the most, with an abundant variety of different stations serving everything from a full Scottish breakfast, to fresh pastries”.
Auchterarder (01764 290 021, www.gleneagles.com)
In the evening, this 13th century castle residence offers five or eight course tasting menus, created by chef patron, Colin Nicholson. The next day, you can roll out of your four poster bed for more intriguing sounding dishes. These include porridge with Glayva and caramelised nuts; venison salami, Hollandaise, poached eggs and sourdough; or Tobermory smoked sea trout, creme fraiche scrambled eggs and crumpet.
Kilchoan (01972 614 380, www.mingarycastle.co.uk)
This Edinburgh hotel, which is part of PoB Hotels’ portfolio, has a maximalist luxury vibe. Thus, you’ll be getting more than a bowl of Fruit & Fibre. The Continental selection includes Great Glen charcuterie, Cambus O’May cheeses, pastries and Katy Rodgers yoghurt. The hot menu’s Scottish selection features porridge, Scotch pancakes, salmon with dill and sorrel, as well as the cute addition of ‘boiled egg in cup’. This consists of three soft boiled chestnut Maran eggs mashed with salted Scottish butter and chives, and the obligatory soldiers. According to them, guests especially love the nine-piece Full Scottish, with Ramsay of Carluke black pudding, tattie scone, haggis, and all the trimmings.
Priestfield House, Priestfield Road (0131 225 7800, www.prestonfield.com)
THE OLD COURSE HOTEL
Don’t fill up on this St Andrews hotel’s cold buffet breakfast, which is served in their Road Hole Restaurant from 6.30am until 10.30am. You want to save yourself for the hot stuff, as we’re talking Kilduncan free-range scrambled eggs, Balgove Larder pork sausage, Fife black pudding and haggis, as well as potato scones, hash browns and the other accoutrements. Run across the sands later.
Old Station Road, St Andrews (01334 260 300, www.oldcoursehotel.co.uk)
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and we make sure it is the best. Whether it’s our award-winning porridge, to which we add Scottish cream, nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar, or smoked salmon and eggs, which is smoked here on our site by our kitchen team, we put as much love into our breakfast as we do our dinner. The views from the window – over Loch na Dal and to the Cuillins beyond, aren’t bad either,” says Kinloch owner, Lady Claire Macdonald. They’re also probably the only hotel we’ve known to also serve homemade scones at breakfast. We’ll take two. At this rate, we’ll sink the bonnie boat.
Sleat, Isle of Skye (01471 833 333, www.kinloch-lodge.co.uk)
Owned by Andy and Kim Murray, this PoB Hotel has just had a major refurbishment. However, their secret breakfast weapon, known simply as Betty, remains. She’s been at the hotel for years, and heads the morning cooking, with breakfast muffins her speciality. Their Continental buffet offers meat, cheese and Viennoiseries, but we especially like the sound of Agen Earl Grey prunes and vanilla poached pears, for adding to your yoghurt. Order something hot and choose omelettes, the full Scottish, French toast or Loch Fyne Kippers, though we fancy the porridge menu and its porridge brulee, with double cream, whisky and caramelised brown sugar.
Kinbuck, Dunblane (01786 820 310, www.cromlix.com)
Okay, so it’s three stars, not five, but this foodie destination knows how to pick up an egg and beat it. Their breakfast includes porridge with apricot and early grey compote, and poached smoked haddock or Isle of Bute trout with scramblers.
Balcquihidder, Lochearnhead (01877 384 6222, www.monachylemhor.net)